Monday, December 1, 2008

Chaffinch Island Park in Guilford

The best places are often the most difficult to find. Chaffinch Island Park in Guilford is no exception to this rule. Tucked away on a winding, residential road near the mouth of the West River, the park is not easily found. At least three times, I passed the same elderly couple walking their dog as I retraced my steps back to a previous intersection (I got lost). My effort and sense of embarrassment were well rewarded though, when I eventually found a sign that led me into the park. The information I read on Chaffinch Island describes it as a "low-key municipal park with minimal amenities". Other than some picnic tables and barbecue grills, the main attraction here is the scenery. The park is a nice combination of rocky shoreline and salt marsh. I walked along the large rocks that extend out into the water. To the south, Falkner Island and its trademark lighthouse were silhouetted by the sun. A few small fishing boats skimmed along the horizon. Some birds worked the shoreline and dropped shells upon the rocks, hoping to crack open their catch. To the west, the rocky shoreline gives way to a salt marsh that extends a great distance. The trails through this area were quite wet, and I was fortunate to have a good pair of boots on my feet. Wet feet in December is never a nice feeling. What struck me most about Chaffinch Island Park was the silence. There were no leaf blowers wailing in the distance, and no hum of traffic from a nearby highway. The nearby boatyards stood silent in their winter nap. The trickle of the tide through the muck of the marsh was the only sound I heard. Eventually the silence was replaced by an approaching, panting sound. The couple I had passed several times earlier, were walking their dog along the rocks. "It's a beautiful spot" he said. "It's hard to find, and most people don't even know about it." I nodded and laughed at the same time. "Sometimes it is best that way", I responded. Chaffinch Island Park WebAlbum Map

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